Saying no to Kum & Go, an idea for Palmer Lake, energy subsidies and more 


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A terrible idea

An open letter to City Planning Commissioners: First, thank you for your service to this city, my hometown.

My family and I are residents of Old Colorado City. I've lived in three different Colorado Springs neighborhoods over the years, but we are firmly settled here now.

We are proud that our neighborhood is an attraction for tourists and visitors to Colorado Springs. We know what a big deal tourism is to this city, and we think it's a terrible idea for a huge, 24-hour, brightly lit gas station and convenience store to move into an area touted in local visitor guides for its walkability, quirkiness, history and charm.

If we diminish the value and appeal of our prime tourist destinations, we impoverish the entire city. Kum & Go can come to U.S. 24; no one is trying to walk and enjoy local flavor right there.

— Julia Mesnikoff

Colorado Springs

The heart of OCC

Dear City Planning Commission: Please preserve the character of Old Colorado City. I'm sure there is a place for Kum & Go somewhere, but it is not in the heart of OCC.

There is no need for such a business near Bancroft Park, the home of the most popular farmers market and where people come to experience the Christmas spirit among the sparkling lights on a horse-drawn carriage.

I know of many residents of suburban communities who regularly take the time to drive 30 minutes or more across town just to visit this quaint neighborhood because of its unique character. Kum & Go will surely have an unfavorable impact on this national historic district.

Simply put, I'm asking you to preserve the atmosphere of this wonderful spot in Colorado Springs. Once it's gone, it's gone for good.

— Anatoly Zuber

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: These are two of 54 "No-to-Kum-&-Go" letters on which the Independent was copied between Thursday and Monday. For more on the issue, see "Going wild over Kum & Go," p. here

Simple fix

The good folks of Palmer Lake have a better chance of recreating an image of a lake rather than filling it with precious water. All they have to do is contact Christo, who still awaits his OK on draping the Arkansas River. He could work his magic by stretching tough, reflective Mylar over the now-weed-infested lakebed, creating a mirage.

— Jim Sawatzki

Spruce Mountain, Douglas County

Solar bennies

Regarding your recent article "Sunblock" (cover story, Aug. 7), I'm not so sure these are subsidies. A review of studies by the Rocky Mountain Institute (rmi.org/elab_emPower) lists the many benefits various utilities around the country derive from solar programs. These benefits include electric quality, avoided cost for not having to build new power plants, reduced power losses in the distribution system, fuel-price hedge (it seems the sun doesn't raise prices), reduction of criteria air pollutants and many more.

The review does not address the externalized costs associated with fossil fuels, which some studies for Eastern utilities put as high as 25 cents per kilowatt hour. (We pay about 10 cents per kilowatt hour.) These costs include health and environmental impacts which are often hard to quantify, but they do impact us air-breathers and water-drinkers.

Although the numbers in these studies may not be correct for our utility, there are benefits to solar and renewable energy programs. It might just be that the "subsidy" CSU pays for solar programs is less than the benefits the utility gets from those programs.

If that's the case, is it a subsidy or good business?

— Scott Harvey, PE

Colorado Springs

Waste of money

The Republican Party is supposedly the party of limited government. They complain to no end about "wasteful spending," and yet, when it suits their purposes, no expense is too big.

Take the unnecessary effort to recall Sen. John Morse.

Morse is a term-limited senator, with only one year left to serve. That's it. Next November, there will be a campaign to fill his seat in District 11. If the Republicans wanted him gone, all they had to do was wait. Allow the process to work its course. But that wasn't good enough for them. They are forcing El Paso County taxpayers to foot the bill — perhaps up to $240,000 — for a special election that offers nothing positive for the citizens of Colorado.

Historically, recalls have been used against politicians who have broken the law or committed serious ethical infractions. They were never meant to be a mechanism used to usurp the will of the voters. After all, Morse won re-election fair and square. The voters in his district sent him to Denver to represent them. And what has Morse done, other than vote his conscience?

Thanks to this recall, we now have entered a new, ugly age of politics. Whenever a politician votes against a special interest group, they will face the threat of recall. And the people will have to foot the bill.

— Tracey Wright

Colorado Springs

Thank you, John

As a gun owner, I have no problem with the gun safety laws that our Senator Morse has endorsed.

No one is taking anyone's guns! We are being required to have background checks and limit the number of bullets for magazines. That's all!

Senator Morse has written a tax law to create jobs, a law that cracks down on sex offenders, he's worked on education, senior citizens' home care, veterans' health services, etc., etc. Senator Morse was voted in by a majority. He should be getting handshakes and a big "thank you" for all that he has done, and is doing!

— Pat Hill

Colorado Springs

Stolen voices

What a disappointment to see City Council go against the will of the voters and pass a ban on marijuana sales and activities in the city. We, the people, are being systematically robbed of our voices by elected officials who place themselves above the democratic process.

Last November, 104,143 people in Colorado Springs voted in favor of Amendment 64 to "regulate marijuana like alcohol." That was an indication that the voting majority supported sales to adults over age 21, as well as the economic activity that would result from marijuana cultivation, manufacture of edible products, etc., and the tax revenues that would accrue to local governments and schools.

With their action to "opt out," Council has negated that decision.

Two City Council members in particular whom I'd like to see replaced in the next election are Val Snider and Merv Bennett. They serve as "Councilors at large," which means they represent all city residents and thus have a greater obligation to reflect the position of the voters.

Unlike their fellow at-large Councilor, Jan Martin, both Snider and Bennett voted in favor of the ban and against the will of the majority of city voters, which was 51.2 percent in favor of finding a way to regulate marijuana.

Please make a note of that in the next city election. If our elected officials won't represent us, we will need to find some new ones who will. This hysteria over marijuana is simply ridiculous, and we don't need "Big Brother" to step in and protect us from an herb!

— Cyndy Kulp

Colorado Springs

Wusses at the helm

Mayor Bach and City Council are pretty wussy when concluding that retail pot sales would keep businesses away. Any business that actually cares whether marijuana use is an issue already has established drug-testing procedures and employment guidelines, so it's up to the prospective or existing employee to take responsibility for his or her personal decision. And, no, drug testing isn't that expensive.

As conservatives, isn't it sort of contradictory to have a position that seems to bolster big government?

Gains in potential tax revenues and a massive reduction in ridiculous incarcerations and prosecutions would surely pay for the stupid crap the mayor wants to build in the city.

— Jeff Howley

Colorado Springs

Signage parity

It's ironic that in "The cage within" (Letters, Aug. 14), the writer pointed out that mere signs rattled Whitney Galbraith's cage ("Rattling the cages," Letters, Aug. 7). Look at how many people get rattled if there's a sign with religious content on public property.

If you're going to argue that, then let Christians have their signs, too. If you argue that it's separation of church and state, then I'd argue that gay and lesbianism is a belief system, too, and not different than a religion in that respect. Let's apply the same logic across the board.

— Ed Sokolove

Colorado Springs

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